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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

New research shows Australians bursting for Pacific bubble



New data from travel platform, Vacaay, reveals Australians are eagerly awaiting the opening of the Pacific Bubble ­– with French Polynesia, Fiji and Cook Islands experiencing a surge in online interest.

To compare the shift in travel intention as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vacaay compared usage from 15 February to 15 March 2020 with the period 15 June to 15 July 2020.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Take a tour of Sydney’s fascinating pandemic history


City of Sydney staff wearing masks to protect themselves from 1919 flu (City of Sydney Archives)

Aligning with the current curiosity for pandemics and epidemics, Renaissance Tours have curated ‘In Sickness and in Health’, a fascinating look into discovering how disease and contagion changed the course of Sydney’s history from the days of colonisation to the present.

Jobkeeper extended until 2021. Extension explained



The Federal Government has announced it will extend the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme beyond the end of the existing JobKeeper scheme on 28 September 2020.  The extension will run up until 28 March 2021. 

The following is a summary of changes to the Jobkeeper scheme, though you can read more detail in this article

In regard to JobKeeper payments, under the extension the $1,500 fortnightly JobKeeper payment will reduce to the following:

Eligibility requirement – employees:
Eligible employees will qualify for the maximum rate or the reduced rate based on the hours they worked during the month of February 2020.  Employees who worked an average of 20 hours per week in the month of February 2020 will be eligible for the maximum rate.

Employer eligibility to receive JobKeeper payments from 28 September 2020, businesses will need to meet the basic eligibility tests and an extended decline in turnover test based on actual GST turnover.


Source: Hendersons Financial Planning

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

ATIC: Retention of JobKeeper backs Tourism’s future

ATIC has welcomed the retention of JobKeeper as an investment in a stronger future for one of Australia’s economic pillars and employers – tourism!

But the peak tourism industry body said re-consideration for exemption for seasonal tourism and associated businesses, particularly across Northern Australia, into JobKeeper 2.0, was needed.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said:
ATIC's Simon Westaway "retention of JobKeeper was an
absolute priority for our heavily impacted tourism industry"

“The Federal Government’s retention of JobKeeper was an absolute priority for our heavily impacted tourism industry, an employer of 1 million Australians, powered by thousands of small businesses. We recognise the significance of the continuing commitment to this valued Program.

“JobKeeper to date has done the job intended enabling sustainable businesses including most tourism enterprises to keep on key workers until the economy and visitor demand recovers.

“JobKeeper 2.0’s 6-month extension provides certainty to keep tourism business doors open because most still await visitor recovery with a firmly closed international border and ongoing domestic border restrictions in place across States and Territories in response to COVID-19.

“Australia’s border constraints remain critical in both tourism’s and our economy’s ability to effectively recover. Today’s announcement cannot mask this obvious ongoing economic impediment which drove our call-out for JobKeeper’s targeted extension.

“ATIC’s positive 5-point plan for JobKeeper’s future has been largely captured and we and our business members will work constructively with Government around its next-phase.

“This includes urgent engagement with Government and the Opposition on the best means to address the exceptional circumstances faced by seasonal tourism businesses, such as across Northern Australia, which didn’t qualify under the first stage of JobKeeper and will again continue to fall outside the Program’s next phase guidelines.

“Their value to Australia’s tourism industry and our diversity of offering is undeniable.

“These businesses’ ability to be eligible and re-considered inside JobKeeper 2.0 or be supported via targeted assistance through the Federal COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund due to their exceptional circumstances will be argued for.”

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The New Normal - Your guide to a post COVID-19 Hunter Valley visit



Remember the days when you eagerly headed up the F1 to the Hunter Valley, a mere two-hour drive from Sydney, boot empty, friends in tow, ready to hit as many wineries as you could in a day and do some serious wine tasting?

Friday, July 3, 2020

Most Australians are already travelling. Are you?



According to a study sponsored by PayPal, 65% of Aussies are already comfortable travelling, but only if they’re staying close to home –

• 96% of Aussies not comfortable to travel broadly overseas

• 2-in-5 Aussies can’t wait to go travelling again and 65% are already comfortable travelling in Australia

• 3-in-5 Aussies had to change, or cancel travel plans due to COVID-19

• Almost 30% would rather stay local and support the Aussie tourism industry – even if they could go overseas

Thursday, July 2, 2020

New 'Road to Recovery Tour' on Kangaroo Island


To aid the recovery of Kangaroo Island in the aftermath of their devastating bushfires, Kangaroo Island Odysseys has launched a new one-night/one-day 'Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour'. The tour operates daily and a special 'Hot Deal' rate of only $599 per person twin share, normally $650 per person twin share, is available for travel from the 5th to the 31st August 2020 including a free breakfast.

 

Designed in consultation with the company's local tour guides, the KI Odysseys Kangaroo Island 'Road to Recovery Tour' visits the bushfire affected areas at the western end of Kangaroo Island, including Bunker Hill, Remarkable Rocks, Cape du Couedic and Admirals Arch, all in Flinders Chase National Park which re-opened recently only to Certified Tour Operators. The tour also visits the fire damaged areas of Vivonne Bay Beach and Point Ellen at Vivonne Bay and the North Coast of Kangaroo Island.

 

Out of the ashes witness the amazing regeneration and regrowth of the flora and fauna that is bringing a whole new sense of beauty and life to the island. See tree trunks and roots shoot with buds, and ash beds now full of nutrients which have greatly enhanced the proliferation of seedling germination.  With the once dense scrub now gone, see for the first-time hills and terrain that has been hidden for years and now show an incredible heat produced mosaic pattern on the landscape. 

 

The island's iconic wildlife has not been forgotten with the tour visiting Seal Bay Conservation Park for a guided beach walk amongst wild Australian Sealions. The tour also includes a delicious lunch in a bushland location and an afternoon tea at Snellings Beach. Visit beautiful Stokes Bay in the afternoon to spot kangaroos, koalas and possibly Australia's rarest cockatoo, the Glossy Black Cockatoo. Throughout the day guests will enjoy many opportunities for unique wildlife and native vegetation regeneration photography. 

 

The KI Odysseys 'Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour' offers a personalised small group touring experience, with guests travelling in luxury touring vehicles that will still allow for social distancing to be implemented. Each small group is accompanied by a local KI tour guide who is passionate about the island and who has their own personal story to tell.

 

Arrive on Kangaroo Island late afternoon and enjoy overnight accommodation at the Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge, at scenic American River in a Superior King Bayview Room or upgrade to a Deluxe Studio Waterview.  Spend the following day touring the island before returning to Adelaide that night.

 

The KI Odysseys 'Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour's' 'Hot Deal' rate starts from only $599 per person, twin share from Cape Jervis including breakfast. Upgrade for an extra $25 per person to deluxe accommodation.

 

The hot deal rate includes return SeaLink ferry transfers from Cape Jervis, shuttle transfers from the ferry to accommodation, overnight accommodation at the Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge in a Superior Bayview Room, free breakfast, Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour, all entrance fees, guided tours, special permits, and a delicious lunch.

 

The 'Hot Deal' rate departing from Adelaide and including coach transfers from Adelaide is $624 per person, twin share, normally $698 per person twin share.

 

The Hot Deal is available for travel until 31 August 2020.

 

Car parking at Cape Jervis is available at the local council car parking area or book secure parking with SeaLink.

 

From September 2020, the 'Kangaroo Island Road to Recovery Tour' will be priced from $650 per person, twin share from Cape Jervis, or with coach transfers included from Adelaide for $698 per person, twin share, but will not include breakfast. All other inclusions remain the same.

 

For a full tour itinerary and further information visit: www.kangarooislandodysseys.com.au


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Tailor's Expedition Kangaroo Island



Australia’s premier luxury and five-star experiential travel company The Tailor has launched a five-day immersive Kangaroo Island itinerary, welcoming guests behind the veil of the iconic island with a hands-on, fully-hosted experience for travellers seeking the combination of nature’s calming solitude alongside genuine human connections and enterprises.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Lake Macquarie – the perfect destination for a romantic weekend away



The kids are back to school and life is starting to return to normal, it’s time for you and your significant other to treat yourselves to a child-free weekend escape.

Lake Macquarie is perfect for a quick couple’s getaway, and is only a 90-minute drive up the M1 from Sydney. This laidback coastal destination has plenty on offer for couples wanting to relax, reconnect and ramp up the romance without being too far from home.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Aussies urged to make a #RoadTripPledge



Famous Australian faces get behind new campaign backed by Stayz to drive regional tourism and get Aussie families back on the road travelling again

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Intrepid Travel gives Aussies a new way to explore their own backyard



The brand-new tour range will bring travellers together closer to home, while supporting local communities along the way

Intrepid Travel, the world’s leading sustainable tour operator, has introduced a new collection of tours called Intrepid Local, with initial offerings in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. With 75+ multi-day adventures, these trips will give travellers the opportunity to explore closer to home while many international borders remain closed.

Winter Weekend Road Trip to Hunter’s Maitland



Historic, foodie, cultural and picturesque, the Hunter Region’s vibrant destination encourages local travellers to “Make it Maitland” this winter. Appealing to families, young professionals and the 50+ alike, its open spaces and proximity to Sydney, Central Coast and Newcastle offer a relaxing weekend escape.

Accor launches ‘Time to Drive’ deals to entice travellers to get on the road again




Enjoy peace of mind in a safe and clean environment with fully flexible rates from as low as $85* per night at more than 340 hotels, resorts and apartments across Australia and New Zealand. Plus, earn 3X rewards points.

With travel restrictions easing and our human desire to reconnect with one another rising, now is the perfect time to drive, to explore, and to discover a dream holiday with friends and family in your own backyard.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

New five-star hotel to open in Margaret River



Margaret River's popularity as a world-class destination has been further boosted, with luxury hotel chain Marriott International announcing it will open the region's first five-star resort. The announcement of the Westin Margaret River Resort & Spa earlier this week demonstrates long-term confidence in WA from one of the world's largest hospitality organisations. The Westin Margaret River Resort & Spa will be located on the southern headland of Gnarabup Beach, and will include 120 guest rooms, on-site dining venues, and meeting and event space. The project is expected to create more than 300 jobs during construction, with more than 100 ongoing local jobs to be supported once it opens its doors in mid-2023. For more information, read the full story

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

TripAdvisor Report: Beyond COVID-19



Tripadvisor published a new report, “Beyond COVID-19: The Road to Recovery for the Travel Industry.” The study shows the world is still hungry for travel: Over two-thirds of travellers (68%) reported already thinking about where they want to go next.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Visit Maldives re-appoints travel & lifestyle PR specialists AWA in Australia

The Maldives opens borders next month 



Independent public relations and communications agency Anne Wild & Associates (AWA) is delighted to announce it has been re-appointed as Visit Maldives’ Australian PR and Trade Representatives for a second consecutive year from 1 June 2020.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Tourism: what’s our new normal?

UniSA’s Professor Marianna Sigala:
“A return to travel will all be about small, safe,
manageable steps.”
After months of lockdown, it’s no surprise that people are itching to get out and about. But with ongoing debates about how and when to open Australia’s state and territory borders, it’s hard to know what to expect.

According to global tourism expert, UniSA’s Professor Marianna Sigala it’s not just tourists who are unsure about next steps, it’s also tourism businesses. And, with change continuing to dictate the immediate future, knowing the likely trends is imperative for operators in the sector.

Prof Sigala says while South Australians can now travel regionally, their travel behaviours will certainly change; accommodating these changes will be a key step in rebuilding the industry.

“There’s a real tug of war going on – people are keen to get out and about, and away from their lockdown locations, but at the same time they’re guided by Covid-19 restrictions and are cautious of protecting their personal health,” Prof Sigala says.

“What this means is that a sense of safety and security will really drive tourists’ choices, affecting not only how and where they travel, but also what they do on holiday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Total revamp needed to secure the future of Aussie tourism post #Covid19

Professor Marianna Sigala, lobbying for a more
ethical and sustainable tourism industry
A complete reset of Australia’s tourism industry is necessary to ensure its future success, according to global tourism expert, Professor Marianna Sigala at the University of South Australia.

As debates continue about how and when to open Australia’s state and territory borders, Prof Sigala says we must consider what we want Australia’s future tourism industry to look like, with a clear lens on sustainability and well-being.

“There’s no doubt Australia’s tourism sector is suffering – we started the year in recovery following the devastating bushfires and then, before operators were even back on their feet, we were hit with the Covid-19 pandemic, and everything rapidly shut down,” Prof Sigala says.

“Everyone is keen to re-active our tourism industry, but we must not default to ‘business as usual’. A new restart rather than a recovery to the old normal is more reasonable.

“COVID-19 has led to profound changes on tourists’ behaviour and expectations as well as on industry operations which are predicted to have long-lasting impacts. We need to take advantage of the slow-down to reflect, rethink and plan for improved practices and behaviours.

“This includes revisiting how tourism activities impact communities; respecting nature and surrounds to ensure we’re enhancing and giving back to the areas and assets that draw tourists; and we need to do that with a mindset that shows we are ready for a successful and sustainable future.

“A tourism resetting plan that encompasses responsible tourism, seasonality and climate change, and importantly, practices that benefit all stakeholder – operators, visitors and communities – and their tangible and intangible cultural assets, could position Australia as a world exemplar in re-imagining and leading new tourism management in the post COVID era.”

Environmentally, the pandemic has had a positive impact. In India, Covid-19 has closed factories, to clear once-polluted skies; the Himalayan mountain range is now visible from some cities for the first time in years. In Venice, as canal traffic has come to a standstill, once-murky waters are also clear.

Tourists climb Ayers Rock in the mid-70s (Roderick Eime)

Closer to home, Australia had been making positive steps, even before the onset of Covid-19. In October last year, the iconic Uluru was permanently closed to climbers as a mark of respect to the traditional owners of the land.

Yet with recent calls from Northern Territory business groups to reopen the climb for the sake of tourism, Prof Sigala says we still have a lot to learn.

“While isolation has enabled physical environments a chance to recover from the lack of mass tourism, we must find a balance between caring for tourism assets – and the communities in which they reside –valorising them for supporting tourism activities within and around these locations,” Prof Sigala says.

“When we commoditise and commercialise a cultural asset, we risk transforming it into an attraction driven by visitation defined by economic growth.

“The trade-off between economic and other values is our current mindset, and this needs to shift.”

The World Tourism Organization estimates that international tourist arrivals could drop to 78 per cent, which translates to a drop of up to 1.1 billion international arrivals and a loss of US$ 1.2 trillion (nearly A$1.9 trillion) in export revenues from tourism, representing the largest decline in the history of the industry.

Under these dire conditions, survival of the industry must still include sustainability planning and development.

“Sustainability management should not be viewed as an expense to be managed, but as an investment for the future,” Prof Sigala says.

“Australia must continue to implement activities to keep customers, tourism staff and businesses engaged and ready for when travel restrictions lift.

“We need to communicate to the wider and international community that we are not in hibernation, but rather we are upgrading, innovating and introducing sustainable changes in our tourism offerings and operations that enhance the well-being of tourists and our communities.

“When tourists come back, we should be welcoming them to a better, more ethical and more sustainable tourism industry.”

ATIC: Supporting a safe return to enjoying local tourism experiences #Covid19


The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) has launched its latest program of practical support for small and medium size tourism enterprises in the safe delivery of great experiences to the returning visitor.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway
COVID Clean Practising Business is a complimentary online program that assists tourism businesses to develop plans and procedures to create and maintain a COVID safe workplace and operations. It follows ATIC’s recent unveiling of a COVID Tourism Recovery Plan module.

The free program represents a core component of the long-standing Quality Tourism Framework (QTF). The new COVID Clean Practicing Business program also becomes a fresh offering to the already thousands of accredited star-rated and award-winning tourism businesses across Australia within the QTF.

Using Workplace Health & Safety standards and reflecting individual State or Territory requirements, the COVID Clean Practicing Business program develops customised cleaning checklists that are specifically tailored for tourism businesses.

The program also supports the development of safe work practices such as social distancing, staff training and customer guidance and the creation of a COVID-19 risk register. Once in place, these systems support individual tourism business efforts to minimise community spread of COVID-19 and to provide peace of mind to customers, guests and employees.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said tourism businesses that have successfully completed the new program will be able to provide an assurance to visitors and guests that additional hygiene steps and sound safe work practices are in place by displaying the COVID Clean Practising Business mark on-premises and on line.

“Our industry has faced unimaginable challenges this year and we want to make every effort to support their recovery. The COVID Clean Practising Business program will assist small and medium tourism enterprises, the backbone of our industry, to take practical, but necessary steps to provide a safe and secure place of business as well as give their prospective customers renewed confidence to book,” Mr Westaway said.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Qatar Airways resumes Brisbane service with A350-1000 debut

Qatar Airways A350-1000 (Source: Australian Aviation)

Qatar Airways is the global launch customer for the A350-1000, the world’s most advanced passenger aircraft

Qatar Airways’ has officially resumed its Brisbane operations with the first flight of the new service landing at Brisbane International Airport last night. The Airbus A350-1000 left Hamad International Airport, which was voted Third Best Airport in the World at the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2020, landing in Brisbane at 8:45pm local time.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Surge in road trips is all in the data says CamperMate



Australia’s number one road travel experience app says a strong rise in road travel awaits

The CamperMate app, Australia’s number one road travel experience app, with almost 2 million users, is demonstrating how a strong and immediate take-up in future travel for day trips and anticipated future overnight stays is set to occur as we safely navigate out from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is well proven Australians love to travel and holiday – even for a day trip or short break. And the forced shutdown of domestic and international travel, the right thing to do to support the public health response to coronavirus, has made us more cautious and community minded during this time.

Respected and senior tourism leader, CamperMate CEO Nick Baker, said the rapidly developing green shoots now occurring with the CamperMate road travel experience app, closely correlate with predicted pent up demand for get-on-the-road and travel activity across our country and which is predicted in the weeks ahead.

Mr Baker said CamperMate’s surge in users over the month of May, a compound growth of at least 140 per cent each week, is exciting news and a real-life indicator for more positive times ahead for our beleaguered tourism businesses, regional centres and our great cities which are desperately ready to welcome people back.

“Last week our CamperMate App was downloaded by 5000 new users! This is a fraction of what we usually see when tourism is fully firing. But the current triple digit growth rate in users of the App is very clear to us and demonstrates there are genuine green shoots in the road back for tourism,” Mr Baker said.

“Our rapidly increasing numbers of users of the CamperMate app highlights that many people are planning to embrace road trips ahead of the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend and into the winter break for schools.

“This is an exciting prospect for our regional visitor hot spots, now further encouraged by the latest State Government announcements such as in NSW and South Australia, to encourage people to get back out there!”

==

The former senior executive of Tourism Australia and Voyages and CEO of Red Balloon said CamperMate’s App performance numbers paint a realistic picture of how and when people will embrace the chance to travel again.

He said in the few short weeks during February - between when the horrendous bushfires came under control and the onset of COVID-19 - CamperMate’s strong data insights showed many Australians were quickly driving back into and through our regions. They also over-prolonged their stay in many places against trend – a sign we anticipate could be repeated based on the anticipated pent up demand for local travel in a COVID Safe economy.

“At CamperMate we predict this will again become the case as authorities make clear further easings of restrictions and encouragement of initially local and intrastate travel,” Mr Baker said.

Mr Baker said since CamperMate’s inception it has been a strong supporter and partner of industry with its strong data insights well reflecting road trip travel activity and destination performance. It has become an information tool feeding into government and industry planning on both sides of the Tasman. This includes monitoring tourist and visitor volumes and strategically assessing activity within road and park networks.

“CamperMate possesses an innovative new in-trip booking platform for thousands of accommodation and experience options, including offers in caravan and recreational parks, as well as providing real-time updates on any travel warnings or closed areas in-journey. CamperMate helps makes a good trip great,” Mr Baker said.

“CamperMate’s value to users is also pulling live data from service providers so travellers have truly localised updates on the latest offers, accessibility, weather and travel conditions before making a pre or in-trip booking.

“Increasingly this is the way many people are now travelling by making decisions in trip! CamperMate’s evolving features now make it even more appealing and practical to the emergent Australian domestic traveller.”

The CamperMate app is available to download free on IOS and Android devices and is supported by leaders in the Australian and New Zealand caravan and RV industry including Jayco and Discovery Parks Australia.

Website: www.campermate.com.au
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CamperMate
Instagram: @CamperMate


Traveloscopy | 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

200 Baby Turtles Born at Banyan Tree Samui



Thai resort nurses green turtles to life

The birth of some 200 green turtles has brought a moment of joy to the staff at one of Thailand’s top hotels.

Between April 4 and 24, three nests hatched on the secluded beach at Banyan Tree Samui resort, and a total of 200 baby turtles emerged under the watchful gaze of the hotel’s resident marine biologist, Thepsuda Loyjiw.

Banyan Tree Samui's CSR team had erected a fence
around the turtle nests to protect the eggs from predators.
Since a giant mother turtle laid the eggs in late February and early March, they’ve matured in the protective custody of Loyjiw’s team and the local Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.

“It was heartwarming to watch the baby turtles being born, and then scurrying to the sea,” said Loyjiw. “Ever since the mother turtle laid her eggs on our beach, we have been protecting them from predators such as birds and monitor lizards, and gauging the temperature of the eggs to make sure the hatchlings would be given every chance of survival.”

It appears that this mother turtle was in luck, because not only does Banyan Tree Samui employ a sustainability team headed by a marine biologist, but the 5-star hotel was singled out last year by global watchdog EarthCheck as meeting the highest standards for environmentalism in the country.

Banyan Tree Samui is located at the southeastern tip of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. The resort’s beach is sheltered in a cove, flanked by coral reefs, and isolated from the busy public beaches of Chaweng and Lamai.

When fully grown, green sea turtles generally weigh between 110 and 180 kg and measure about one meter in length. It is rare in Thailand for a giant green turtle (Chelonia mydas) to lay eggs so close to a tourist area; most seek out deserted bays in the Andaman Sea to make nests. However, since the onset of Covid-19, hotels on Koh Samui have been ordered to close, bringing the popular tropical island to a standstill.

Several recent news reports have noted that marine life and wildlife have regenerated on many of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations since the coronavirus crisis began. Nests of rare leatherback turtles have been discovered on Phuket, and an increasing number of dugongs has been spotted close to Thai shores.



Friday, May 15, 2020

ATIC: Live from AUS – Let’s bring Australian tourism a-live

Executive Director of ATIC, Simon Westaway
The Australian Tourism Industry Council and its thousands of tourism SME member businesses, including many regional-based firms are strongly behind the success of Tourism Australia’s innovative ‘Live from AUS’ domestic campaign.

The mainstream media, as well as digital and online execution, launches this evening through broadcast media and then through TA’s highly popular Facebook page and YouTube channels.

Executive Director of ATIC, Simon Westaway said:

“Enthusiastically we wish Tourism Australia well with this bold and innovative campaign approach. Importantly we observe it includes a focus on how Australia’s tourism SME’s from all corners of the country deliver their compelling offering and how it can and will strongly appeal to local audiences to hit the road and holiday here this year.

“Domestic tourism is the well-known backbone of our sector. Pre the COVID-19 pandemic Australians were spending $100 billion annually inside our domestic visitor economy, which like our international visitor and spending numbers, were running at record levels.

“Close to three-quarters of our industry is a domestic play and that clearly will not change for the years ahead.

“Acknowledging the significant hurdles that our industry has faced with a stratospheric drop in demand the face of recovery will not be easy. This week’s official massive lift in unemployment and underemployment levels and rising household debt and cashflow stress highlight this.

“But it is the right thing for our acclaimed national tourism agency to keep the inspiration of a domestic holiday, a regional and rural journey or short trip top of mind and that time is now.

“Innovative campaigns like this are a further proof point that there is a genuine, longer-term role for Tourism Australia to play in Australia’s domestic tourism sector. Our position on this has never wavered.

“We wish the campaign well and look forward to hearing of the strong outcomes and insights gained and hopefully lots of future trips being considered or booked!”

Further Details: Simon Westaway Executive Director, ATIC M: 0401 994 627 swestaway@qualitytourismaustralia.com www.qualitytourismaustralia.com

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Update from Tourism Western Australia


Happy Friday!
Brodie Carr, MD,
Tourism Western Australia

It was encouraging to see the Prime Minister’s announcement this morning following the National Cabinet about guidelines around a three-step approach to easing coronavirus restrictions, with each State and Territory to determine how this will be applied.

On Sunday, the Premier will announce the next phase for WA and the roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions.

Thanks for taking the time to join me last week for our online industry update on Tourism WA’s big-picture marketing strategy going forward.

As I mentioned in the presentation, we will remain active on our social channels throughout each stage of our COVID-19 recovery including a new holding social campaign.

We have deliberately waited until after the Prime Minister’s announcement today to launch the “Adventure Awaits” campaign so it is as current as possible.  We are planning more content following the Premier’s announcement on Sunday. This has placed even more importance on the need for tourism businesses to ready themselves for travellers.

The campaign will encourage people to keep our State front of mind as a must-visit holiday destination and will run until intrastate regional restrictions are lifted and the time is right to travel again. We’re currently developing a toolkit for tourism operators to have the opportunity to be featured as part of this campaign. More information will be available in the next edition of Talking Tourism on May 14.

This campaign will be able to pivot when intrastate borders open and I look forward to sharing more information with you soon about what this will look like and the next steps.

We are also showcasing some of the best WA holiday experiences on our new Virtual Hub, which brings together immersive content from tourism operators around the State.

I’d encourage you all to get involved if you can - find out more about how you can get involved here.

Hope you have a great weekend,


Brodie Carr
Managing Director



Sunday, May 3, 2020

Cruising Again in 2020: Australia and NZ to kick off return to cruising


Why it will start in Australia and New Zealand first.

AUSTRALASIA WILL LEAD THE WAY IN RETURN TO OPERATIONS FOR THE CRUISE INDUSTRY

by Richard Davey

In recent years, a high proportion of the cruise industry has been headquartered in Miami and surrounding areas. The home ports of Miami and Fort Lauderdale are the largest hubs on a year-round basis. For over 30 years, when the latest and largest additions to the fleets have been launched and Christened, it has normally been there that they have sailed. The rest of the world had to wait, almost every time. This pattern was in the process of being repeated yet again by new market entrant Virgin Voyages. Their newbuild Scarlet Lady was about to commence her Miami-based operations when the shutdown was enforced.

Amidst the new challenges posed by the pandemic of 2020, much of the industry’s focus again seems introspective and appears to follow The White House in being somewhat optimistic in its assessment of the pandemic’s ongoing effect on the population of the United States. The already established pattern is that the United States CDC announces a “no sail” order, nominating a date before which North American cruise operations should not resume unless the situation somehow improves sooner than expected. This is followed by announcements from several cruise lines saying that they are planning to resume operations at an earlier date. This is plainly unrealistic given when current statistics and when it is remembered that the cruise lines are normally compliant with CDC orders and that the need for such compliance will be greater than ever moving forward.

The Northern Summer is the event around which much the cruise industry revolves. The marquee destinations of Alaska, the Caribbean and Europe. The massive source markets of North America, UK and Germany embark on their holidays and some of the world’s greatest travel experiences are enjoyed by millions. It would seem difficult for even the most optimistic of souls to take a look at the stranglehold that Coronavirus currently has over these populations and not conclude that the Summer of 2020 is going to have to be written off by the cruise industry and that they should refocus on responding to the green traffic lights as they appear, rather than trying to run the red lights.

In Australia, New Zealand and many neighbouring island nations, the lights are flashing amber and about to turn green. The target is not containment of this virus, but outright elimination. We are already 85% of the way towards achieving that goal. We are not exposed to land borders and have very close cooperation between our governments. There is much talk of opening our borders to one another whilst keeping them closed to those outside the zone or “bubble”. This lifting of restrictions will open up both commerce and leisure in our region. If the cruise industry can meet the challenge of focusing on the potential of this region and restoring the confidence of consumers and governments then this region shall be the venue for the return of cruising, and July should be the realistic target date.

Aside from the prospect of a healthy population, there are other reasons why this region is suitable for a restart at this time.

Australia and New Zealand are proven as a source market. Traditionally, the local market has always supported year-round cruising. For decades, cruises have departed Sydney during our winter months, setting sail for the tropical regions to the North. The islands of Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji as well as the coast of Queensland. With growth, the ports of Auckland, Brisbane and Fremantle have also supported year-round cruises and in recent years, boutique and luxury cruises have also operated to Papua New Guinea and Australia’s Kimberley region. World and Grand cruises, designed for Australians and New Zealanders to enjoy a no-fly getaway from our winter have also been undertaken, first by P&O and in recent years by Princess Cruises. All this is proven by its success. The question in 2020 is, how many Aussies and Kiwis who might otherwise have been cruising in Alaska, Asia, New England, or Europe, or the hundreds of thousands more who would have been enjoying land-based holidays – but have been forced to stay at home instead – how many of them will respond to the chance of a late-winter or spring getaway within our region?

The ships are already nearby, and so are their crew.

Despite the eviction by press conference of the cruise industry by the governments of Australia and New Zealand with calls to return to their ports of registry, many of the ships that serve the Australasian market have retreated no further than South-East Asia. This has provided the opportunities for the repatriation of crew, as well as the dry-docking and lay-up of ships there. The fleet of ships currently in Asia not only includes ships that serve the Australasian market year-round and for long seasonal positionings, but also a few other that would be welcome additions should their owners decide to join in for a safe resumption of cruising in this region.

Where, when and who?



P&O Pacific Aria Auckland 4th July

There may not be any Americans on board to celebrate their national day, but the suspension of cruise operations in NZ will just have been lifted, so that’s reason enough for celebration.

Sapphire Princess 7th July Sydney to Fremantle – with Winter sure to be biting Sydneysiders by this day, if the Inside cabins get ditched, the buffet is banned and the aircon is shipshape, it will be time for Sapphire to shine.

The Kimberley

With a virus-free Australia ready to travel but with the Northern Hemisphere off the menu, this can be the year to tick this destination off aboard one of the small ships that get up close in this pearl of a destination. It has never been an inexpensive holiday, but neither has a trip to Europe at the pointy end of the aircraft.

Queen Elizabeth was already backing up for her longest Australian season ever, but with her Alaska 2020 season already cancelled, and Asia surely in doubt, she will be ready to go when we are and is currently anchored near Manila.

Silver Muse already due here late this year, an early arrival could be on the cards if her other itineraries are in doubt. This could also be the case for Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze

© Richard Davey 2020

Richard Davey
Richard Davey is a 30-year veteran of the travel industry with an unusual insight into the cruise industry. He has serviced Sydney's elite with travel advice through his agency, Ambassador Travel, for almost 20 years.

Having represented several ship owners including ResidenSea's The World, Richard is regarded as one of Australia’s leading authorities in the cruise industry and is frequently heard on the top rating Radio 2GB Sydney, 2CC Canberra and 4BC Brisbane.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tourism Australia’s strategy ‘overhaul’ to reboot domestic tourism is endorsed


The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) strongly endorses the flagged strategy shift by Tourism Australia towards future promotion of domestic travel destinations to local audiences due to the diabolical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ATIC Executive Director, Simon Westaway
Responding to commentary in today’s Australian newspaper that our global-leading national tourism agency will ‘overhaul its current strategy’ directly towards encouraging Australians to travel to and through their country; ATIC Executive Director, Simon Westaway, stated this was a major development for industry and would hopefully prove a catalyst to help enable anticipated recovery of the visitor economy in time.

Mr Westaway said ATIC’s consistent policy position that Tourism Australia both regain and continue to retain and play a renewed role in domestic tourism marketing, as well as partnership and supply side engagement with industry, is now excitingly on the horizon.

Domestic and intrastate tourism continues to deliver around 70% of Australia’s approaching $150 billion tourism and visitor economy and remains firmly the backbone of the economic sector.

He said with dedicated funds and driving important coordinated approaches such as regional visitor dispersal initiatives, the national oversight and targeted activity that Tourism Australia can bring is timely given no part of our industry has been spared from the major impact of coronavirus.                                                                                 
“Australian tourism, one of the true pillars of our economy, has been flattened by impact after impact since the beginning of 2020. The reality is COVID-19 has struck our industry hard and perhaps like no other,” Mr Westaway said.

“We know sadly for many tourism enterprises and tens of thousands of those once employed across the sector that there may be no tomorrow when we look towards any future removal of state and territory border restrictions and less onerous social distancing to get things moving again.

“The position to be taken by Tourism Australia is not just the right thing to do, but it will also be symbolically important. We firmly believe such a decision can reignite the spark of many in our great industry to start future rebuilding our Australia’s visitor economy from within.”

Mr Westaway said Tourism Australia’s strategy and operations had achieved success by previously accommodating both international marketing, trade and B2B engagement with global reach alongside a strategic role involving direct investment and coordination of targeted domestic tourism marketing and industry partnerships activity.

“The massive blow the sudden loss of the rising international tourism market to Australia has had on so many tourism businesses across our cities and region, particular many SMEs who attract overseas tourist visitors, isn’t immediately replaceable. But with international borders to remain firmly shut for the foreseeable future this approach has to be undertaken to help assist an industry reboot,” Mr Westaway said.



Thursday, April 23, 2020

Intrepid Group to suspend most operations until September


Intrepid Group has today confirmed that it will suspend all tours globally until 30 September 2020. This, however, excludes polar voyages and some trips within Australia.
The decision follows Intrepid’s announcement last month to suspend global operations until 31 May. 

Customers booked to travel on an Intrepid Travel or Peregrine Adventures tour during this time will receive a credit valued at 110 per cent of all monies paid to use towards an alternative tour with a departure date before 30 September 2022.

Intrepid Group CEO James Thornton
"an extraordinary situation"
CEO James Thornton says that the decision to extend the suspension of Intrepid Group’s trips is due to the ongoing global impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), and the likelihood that international borders will remain closed for an extended period of time. 

“This is an extraordinary situation for the whole travel industry. As a responsible travel company, we’re doing our best to look after all the people that depend on our business,” says Thornton.

“We look forward to resuming trips when we can once again operate trips that benefit both our travellers and the people they visit along the way.”

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 or www.peregrineadventures.com/en-au/covid19


Monday, April 20, 2020

ATEC ‘Road to Recovery’ tutorial series


ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley
More than 1200 people have registered to be part of ATEC’s free online weekly tutorial series, Road to Recovery.

The tutorials, part of ATEC’s ‘Build Back Better’ strategy, offer a 12-week program of valuable, learning opportunities designed to give individuals and businesses tools to be stronger than ever once the industry gets back on track.

“ATEC is rolling out the ‘Road to Recovery’ tourism tutorial series as a way of supporting our industry members and helping them use this time to work on their business,” ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley said.

“This is undoubtedly an unprecedented challenge for our industry and many people have lost their jobs or their entire business, but the tourism industry is full of passionate and committed people who will be there at the other end of this pandemic, looking to re-engage and find new opportunities.

“We are offering our Road to Recovery tutorials free to the tourism industry in order to help individuals use this time as an investment in their future, learning and building on their strengths and finding new paths.

Over the past month, ATEC has successfully delivered industry webinars to an audience of 3000 plus registrants through its Build Back Better Leadership Webinars where members gain insights from panellists discussing a range of industry-relevant topics and challenges.

The Road to Recovery Tutorials are just 45 mins and are hosted every Thursday at 2pm (AEST).

Upcoming Tutorials:

Week 1: Resilience- self-care, team care and how to work from home healthily 
Week 2: Build your Road to Recovery checklist 
Week 3: The virtual world - There's never been a better time
Week 4: How to adapt and innovate in this new world
Week 5: Leading remote & virtual teams
Week 6: Facebook, Instagram and Linked-In stay connected and grow your customer base.

For a full program and to register click here.  https://www.atec.net.au/build-back-better/road-to-recovery-series/

More: Tourism Drives Growth

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) is the peak industry body representing Australia’s $45 billion tourism export sector. As an organisation, our views are informed by the broadest cross-section of the Australian tourism industry. ATEC represents more than 1000 members across Australia including large national and multinational companies as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises, many of whom are based in regional and remote parts of Australia.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

It's Official: IPW 2020 Cancelled



Dear IPW Delegate:

We have an important announcement to share regarding IPW. Following a thorough decision-making process whereby we explored every viable option to proceed this year, IPW 2020 is cancelled.

We are saddened that circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic including global travel restrictions, flight reductions, mandated social distancing and stay-at-home orders both in the U.S. and abroad have made this year's event impossible to execute.

While the challenges of this moment are obviously being felt in every corner of the world, it's clear the travel community is being especially hard-hit. It is deeply unfortunate that this year's IPW will not provide us the opportunity to gather and forge a path forward together.

Next week, we will update you on the process for credits and refunds in relation to the investment many of you have made for this year's IPW, as well as additional information on IPW 2021.

Until we are able to convene again face-to-face at IPW, we are exploring ways to keep our industry connected and engaged.

I invite you to visit ipw.com for further updates. And everyone please be safe.

Sincerely,




Malcolm Smith

General Manager, IPW

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

ATIC: Tourism industry baseline now set with latest international and domestic visitor data

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway
Today’s release of important but backward facing visitor economy data around national and international visitor statistics for the December 2019 quarter provides context against what is today a very different scenario facing Australia’s $150 billion tourism and visitor economy.

The latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) and International Visitor Survey (IVS) highlighted that domestic overnight spend again rose by double digits (+12% to $80.7 billion) for the year to 31 December 2019 with overnight stays similarly up 12%. Record international spending rose 3% on an annualised basis to $45.3 billion supported by 275 million visitor nights to the end of 2019.

Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) Executive Director Simon Westaway said the quarterly industry snapshot for domestic and international tourism activity delivered by Tourism Research Australia remained critical analysis and sets a standard that few other countries replicate globally.

“Australian tourism enterprises, wider players in our industry and governments continue to rely and engage around this detailed quarterly research which tracks both domestic and international tourism within Australia. This data delivery sets continual benchmarks and now policy makers have the representative statistical baseline right before the dual impacts of bushfires and COVID-19 which transpired from the beginning of 2020 from which to help industry address future recovery,” Mr Westaway said.

“The reality is Australian tourism has rapidly moved into its lowest ebb with the wrecking balls of the major bushfire impacts and now COVID-19 which are not captured by this latest data release.

“ATIC continues its historic callout for a more strongly equipped and resourced TRA to be able to also procure and deliver additional real time data and insights that complement these quality quarterly releases and assist the tourism industry, our people and our investors to best face the uncertain future ahead.

“The how and when to eventually pivot out of the COVID-19 induced and necessary international and in-country travel restrictions will soon come into greater focus. Today’s data release alongside the final furlong of Tourism2020 strategy outcomes must now truly inform government on why ongoing, practical and targeted support for Australia’s tourism and visitor economy is in everyone’s mutual interest and can play its role in our eventual rebuild.”

ATIC represents thousands of local tourism enterprises, where a feature of our industry is over 90% of 300,000 still registered tourism businesses are small to medium enterprises and sole traders that collectively employ 1 million people.

ATIC’s 2021 Federal Pre-Budget submission has an outline for a new direction for Tourism Research Australia amongst a short list of common sense and practical reform insights.

“For our industry to again prosper to its only recent lofty heights we need to get on top of COVID- 19. But we also need a tourism industry still with oxygen in its veins to effectively pivot and seize the genuine future opportunity the visitor economy presents for our nation. Tourism is an economic pillar of a future Australia and industry will need to rally over coming months to ensure we are not seen more as a pariah despite our undisputed social and economic value,” Mr Westaway said.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Message to clients from Travel Associates

Danielle Galloway
General Manager, Travel Associates
I wanted to write today with an update on the Travel Associates business in the current environment as I believe it's incredibly important to keep our valued clients up to date on both our company and our industry in these difficult times.

Your support and your loyalty are so important to our team and we are very appreciative of the trust you place in our business. It's for this reason that I'd like to share some important information on what we are doing to manage the impact of the Government restrictions placed on our country as a result of the Coronavirus, and how this is affecting our company, our clients and our team.

Yesterday, our parent company, Flight Centre Travel Group, made a significant announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange. The announcement shares a number of the initiatives that our Group has put in place, including taking very tangible steps to improve our liquidity and our ability to weather a prolonged downturn in demand. Our goal is to emerge from this situation with our brand, our culture and most importantly, our customer service values intact so that we are able to resume the work we do in assisting our clients to realise their extraordinary travel dreams.

I hope that this announcement will give you a sense of confidence and peace of mind for the future of our business. To walk you through these initiatives, Flight Centre Travel Group’s Managing Director, Graham “Skroo” Turner has provided an update that you can read here.

For 22 years, the Travel Associates brand has worked to develop the very best connections with valued suppliers and we have also built an amazing team of experienced advisers with travel knowledge that is second-to-none. Some of the recent decisions we have made, as a direct result of the impact of Coronavirus on our industry, have been painful and difficult for all including the need to stand down many of our extraordinary advisers. We genuinely look forward to bringing back as many of these amazing people as soon as business returns to near-normal levels.

It's our goal to return to strength with a brand and team that once again exceeds your expectations, keeping you and your family safe, happy and healthy with any travel plans when you are ready to travel again.

As always, if we can do anything to help you, or if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to myself or your trusted Travel Associates adviser.

Yours sincerely
Danielle Galloway
General Manager, Travel Associates

Monday, April 6, 2020

Travel industry mourns passing of celebrity hotelier, Michael Hall

Hotelier to the Stars Passes

by Richard Rosebery

It is with sorrow that I announce the passing of my long-time friend, compatriot and mentor – Michael J Hall. Michael died from a heart condition on Wednesday 1 April 2020.

Michael Hall (1939-2020)
Hotelier Extraordinaire, Mentor & Friend Passes
At the tender age of 17, Michael sailed alone from the UK to New Zealand, and at 19 he ventured across the Tasman to Australia where he first worked for Mary Kathleen mining in outback Queensland before he landed the job of Food & Beverage Manager at the massive Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme. Finding hospitality in his blood Michael travelled to Canada to train at the Chateau Lake Louise in Banff. Returning to Australia in 1965 he started at the Sebel Town House as a storeman, in purchasing and then front office, however, he is especially well remembered as the long-time General Manager of this then famous Sebel Town House.

With a likeable personality, a great knowledge of catering, a natural appreciation of the needs of guests, plus an extremely street-savvy attitude, Michael was the consummate ‘mein host’. Along with his former GM Henry Rose, Michael helped to create an icon for the Australian hospitality industry - a home away from home for celebrities and the rich and famous alike. In truth the Sebel Town House facilities were not much more than a three-star property but the service, attention to detail and utmost care extended to guests by Michael and his staff elevated the Sebel well above its station! Even when new and more luxurious hotels opened their doors in competition to the Sebel, they were unable to knock it off its perch. The Sebel was the first and for a long time the only member of Leading Hotels of the World within this region during most of the hotel’s operating life. Michael held the Sebel’s reins tightly and ensured that every guest was recognised and warmly looked after – a winning formula that has not been emulated in Sydney since.

"With a likeable personality, a great knowledge of catering,
a natural appreciation of the needs of guests, plus an uncanny street-savvy attitude,
Michael was the consummate ‘mein host’."
- Richard Rosebery

When Mirvac bought the Sebel Town House in the late 1980’s Michael also became the Managing Director of Mirvac Hotels, a brand that would grow immensely in the years to come. Michael was instrumental in helping me found Select Hotels & Resorts International in the mid-1980s. Select was a hotel consortia and marketing network – the first of its type for the Asia Pacific region which gave independent hotels a platform to compete with the large hotel chains when the Internet didn’t exist!

Through his strong presence and congenial personality, he was an ideal first Chairman for the group, which grew from 10 to 75 hotels before we merged with Small Luxury Hotels of the World in 1997 to create a global network. In 2003 we resurrected the Select brand again, and again Michael took the reins as my chairman, with me as Managing Director.

Michael Hall was also a savvy investor and worked on several international and domestic hospitality projects after he left the Sebel in the early ‘90s. Unlike so many other General Managers his years as a five-star hotelier did not define the rest of his working life – he started the first ‘five star’ Original Backpackers in Kings Cross, selling it for a tidy profit, which he in turn invested in the Manor House in Surrey Hills, again a profitable adventure into boutique hospitality. I was involved with Michael in marketing both these projects.

Over the year’s Michael was a mentor to many of Australia’s top hoteliers – names such as Andrew Broad, George Bedwani, Graham Goldberg and Raj Mennon to name a few. As such Michael became the first Chairman of the now famous and successful Blue Mountains Hotel School. In 1990 Michael recognised the passion, commitment and expertise of Swiss hotelier Fritz Gubler and his building partner Max Player, and he was keen to see the highly successful Swiss hotel education model adopted into Australia. He supported them in the creation of Australia’s first dedicated hotel school. The school quickly became the Asia Pacific’s most respected and successful hospitality training facility - a school that still thrives today.

Michael was honourable and a real gentleman. He was highly respected by anyone who had the fortune to come in contact with him. He did not suffer fools easily but appreciated the best in people. He was always a shrewd businessperson.

Michael Hall adored his loving wife Patrea Hall and was a devoted family man, taking the role of patriarch for the entire Hall clan. Our hearts go out to Michael’s family – to Patrea, his daughter Leonie and son-in-law Matt Tindale, his son Adam, and grandchildren Charlie, Amy, Riley, Millie and Archie – in this saddest of times.

A small family-only funeral will be held on Wednesday 8 April 2020. When the times permit a full memorial for Michael will be organised by his many friends and held in Sydney.

Rest in Peace Michael

Signature Media Acquires Vacations & Travel Magazine



In big news for the Australian travel media industry, Signature Media has finalised the purchase of Vacations & Travel magazine, cementing the positioning of the media powerhouse as the largest independent travel publisher in the APAC region.

Established in 1983 and previously owned by US-based Morris Media Network, Vacations & Travel is the longest-running travel magazine in Australia, and has a strong digital presence through its website and social media platforms.

Until now Signature Media has focused on family and high-end travel markets. However, with the acquisition of Vacations & Travel, it will now cater to everyone.

Cathy Wagstaff, CEO & Group Editor, said: “The acquisition of Vacations & Travel magazine gives advertisers the opportunity to reach a much larger market, targeting different age groups and travel types, from cost-conscious travellers up to the discerning high-end luxe connoisseur and everyone in between.

“Vacations & Travel will fit very neatly into the Signature family, as will the existing editorial team headed by Jac Taylor and the digital team consisting of Anya Vokhmyakova and Eliza Valk. Helen Hayes, who has 14 years of history in various editorial roles with Vacations magazine, will return to the team as Editor-at-Large. We look forward to working together on this highly regarded travel title that has been on the shelves of newsagents and delivered to loyal subscribers for 37 years.”

Jac Taylor, the Editor of Vacations, adds: “I have to admit, I was ecstatic to hear that it might be Signature Media acquiring Vacations & Travel, and I'm beyond happy that they've chosen to retain not just me, but Anya and Eliza – both such great core team members! I give my heartfelt thanks (to Cathy) for believing in us and in what we know is a quality and much-loved magazine.”

“Signature Media plans to return Vacations & Travel to its former glory as a leading travel title in this market. We will take it back to its roots, catering to a broad market sector – it will be the magazine for everyone, with inspirational content covering the whole spectrum of three- to five-star experiences around the globe,” Wagstaff concluded.

Given the current coronavirus crisis, Signature Media will rest the print title for two issues, publishing the first issue in summer this year. In the interim, we will continue to publish digital content, focus on strengthening digital channels and will use the downtime to refocus the magazine as well as further fine-tuning its advertising and marketing strategies.


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The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places